‘Potential suicide mission’ to jump off wreck – NSRI

The NSRI is warning the public to stay clear of Bos 400 wreck after yet another rescue there.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has again urged thrill seekers to stay clear of a wrecked crane barge off Sandy Bay after a student was injured there earlier this month.

The 19-year-old man was rescued from the Bos 400 crane barge just before 2pm on Wednesday February 1, said the NSRI.

According to NSRI Hout Bay station commander Spencer Oldham, medics on the rescue craft Nadine Gordimer found the student had been pulled onto rocks by friends after apparently being injured in a fall or a dive off the wreck.

The man and three fellow university students were among over 30 people visiting the wreck on the day.

The Bos 400 French crane barge ran aground in a storm while being towed by the Russian tugboat Tigr on June 26, 1994 from Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo to Cape Town.

“The shipwreck at Maori Bay on the Atlantic Seaboard is a no-go area,” said NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson in a statement. “Most of the wreck lies submerged just below the surface under the crane boom which, added to the considerable height, makes jumping into the water a potential suicide mission. There have already been serious injuries at the site, and our greatest concern is that the next jumper may be fatally injured. The wreck should not be boarded, and the site is not safe to jump into the water.”

Three rescues at the barge over the past year showed the increasing danger it posed to the public, said NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon.

In February and August last year, medics and NSRI Bakoven and Hout Bay duty crews were activated following reports of persons injured at the wreck, according to Mr Lambinon

In August 2021, the NSRI had to divert two rescue craft from a training exercise to rescue two men, students aged 21 and 23, after they had apparently leapt into the sea from the barge’s rusting crane. At the time, the NSRI warned the public to stay away from the wreck. (“Stay clear of wreck, warns NSRI,” Hout Bay Sentinel, September 3, 2021).

NSRI Hout Bay’s rescue craft Albie Matthews also assisted NSRI Kommetjie on Wednesday February 1 at a sinking fishing vessel.

Visit www.nsri.org.za for more information or call 087 094 9774 in an emergency.

The NSRI attending to a previous rescue at the Bos 400 wreck.
The Bos 400 is a French crane barge that ran aground while being towed by the Russian tugboat Tigr on June 26, 1994.